Announcing Alumni Days 2012

GAME Alumni Days Schedule

After a hiatus in 2011, the Alumni Days are back in full glory.

At the end of the autumn semester, just before christmas break, we invite former students currently working in the industry and try to learn from them. We’re doing two full days of guest lectures and a discussion panel – hanging or with our people from FatShark, Might & Delight, Happy Finish, PixelTamer, Meow Entertainment, Zeal Game Studio and more.

As always, we will end with a nice Christmas Party to wind down and celebrate the end of our semester. There’s currently 145 people registered for the party – that’s all game developers on the island; our students, staff, all the local game studios and our invited industry guests.

Here’s some links to previous Alumni Days:
Alumni Day 2008
Alumni Days 2009
Alumni Days 2010

See you out there!

Richard Steffengymnasiet Workshop

26 pupils from Richard Steffengymnasiet’s media program, mix with 1 Ylva Sundström from the GAME department and pour into a classroom on campus.

The result? A workshop on identifying target audiences, seeing niche markets and developing products to exploit them.

This was doubly fun and educational for us, as we got to work with a very different type of designers this time. There are enormous differences between students and pupils, game designers and game players. We are mostly exposed to active gamers, hobbyists. Only rarely do we get to talk with people who might not even be aware that they do play! It was fascinating hearing these young creatives reason about games and the games market.











GAME Students on Swedish Radio

Mari Winarve called us last week and asked if we wanted to appear on her radio show to talk about games, game development and our education. Out staff consists of mostly unpleasant trolls, so we did what we always do when presenting the education; sent our students. 😀

“Maris Cafe” is a radio talk show in a cafe format. Every Friday morning they invite a bunch of guest and some entertainers, sit them down for fika and let Mari walk around among the crowd, do interviews and try out new things. Over the past five years or so Mari has been driving forest machines, fired rifles, tried line dancing etc. etc. Today, she wanted to know more about games.

We sent her 15 of our people, and they did really, really well.

My favorite part is when Polgar get’s the predictable question about violence in games and their effect on players. He returns fire effortlessly; smacks them over the head with Gotland crime novels – the hugely popular genre of murder mystery being (over-) produced here. He simultaneously managed to present a sane game, a sensible and mature vision of game design and the craft of building games AND mentioned “Gotland Game Conference, June” twice. Well played, dear sir. Well played indeed.

Here’s some photos and information from today’s episode. And here’s the recorded stream: (swedish only)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Speaking at Landsarkivet in Visby

Adam and I were invited to speak at Landsarkivet in Visby, during Arkivens Dag.

That was an amazing invite, as the mission of the National Archive reverberates strongly with us (GO ARCHIVE TEAM!)! Ever since the 17th century (we shit you not!) they have stored, kept safe and promoted access to all kinds of written, typed and printed artifacts of the Swedish society. If it wasn’t carved on a rune stone, these people stored it. (someone else takes care of the stones. :)) We’re talking content from both public sectors, private corporation and individuals. It’s huge! In fact – the National Archive represents Swedens single largest cultural ministry. So. Loooove.

Back to the talk? You bet! Our abstract was;

Good Games = Good Learning:

Life is too short to RTFM. Any good game teaches you while you play. They keep you on the edge of your ability, constantly engaged and striving to be better. If you’ve ever said – if you’ve even thought – “why can’t my children be as interested in their education as they are in that game”, this presentation is for you. Adam Mayes and Ulf Benjaminsson – from Gotland University GAME – will demonstrate how all good games offer a powerful learning environment, and how the patterns and methods they use can be easily transferred.

We started with a short de-tour, addressing last weeks media coverage of “game addiction”. Even though no-one in the audience had heard the debate it felt important to slay that beast. With fire.

The audience was entirely foreign to us (and we for them) so the first half was groundwork – what is a game? Most reasonable people are not used to system thinking or design, so this was necessary but too abstract.

But by the half-way point we hit our stride and cruised on top of well ordered problems (“scaffolded challenges”), self-motivated exploration of problem space, forming strong hypothesizes and validating them, fluid intelligence, grey matter and the neuroscience of intrinsic reinforcement. Lot’s of nodding heads and relieved smiles at this point. 🙂

The audience were hardly fighting for seats, but it’s really not the size of the audience, it’s having the right audience. You never know who’s sitting among the present few, and what effect your work can have on them.

In this regard, our audience was awesome. We had Nils – a ten year old who builds games with Scratch. He asked some really good questions and we spent quite some time with him afterwards. We had the director of the Swedish Archives, who devoured what we were saying and suggested future collaborations. As did Marie Anderson – an amazing teacher-lady running the Gold Apple-awarded education on northern Gotland; applying modern tech and language to primary school education.

We actually used her as an example in our talk, and she didn’t even realize it was her we were talking about. She was like “amazing! are there more people doing this too?!”. Hahaha! 😀

Anyway. Converted a few minds, made lots of new contacts, wrote a pretty decent presentation. Good game!

… and they gave us flowers! 😀